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American billionaire Robert Kraft gifts $1m to pro-Israel Super PAC

The Kraft Group is now the sixth entity to donate at least a million dollars to the Aipac-linked United Democracy Project
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (C) is congratulated by US President Donald Trump during an event celebrating the team's Super Bowl win at the White House on 19 April 2017.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (C) is congratulated by US President Donald Trump during an event celebrating the team's Super Bowl win at the White House, on 19 April 2017 (AFP)
By MEE staff in Washington

American billionaire Robert Kraft's holding company has donated $1m to Aipac's Super PAC, according to newly published records from the Federal Election Commission.

WhatsApp co-founder donates $2m to pro-Israel Super PAC
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The donation from the billionaire's Kraft Group is the sixth million-dollar gift to Aipac's United Democracy Project this election cycle, bringing their total amount of donations to around $30m.

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Kraft is also the owner of the New England Patriots football team, the ninth most valuable sports team in the world.

The Super PAC has also received a $2m donation from WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, as well as other smaller but sizable amounts from Republican donors Paul Singer and Bernard Marcus, investment manager Jonathon Jacobson and Democratic megadonor Haim Saban.

Kraft, a Jewish-American businessman with a net worth of $8bn, has a long record of donating to pro-Israel causes and has had close ties to former President Donald Trump.

In 2019, he was invited to a state dinner at the White House by Trump to meet with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

He personally donated $5,800 to Congresswoman Shontel Brown's campaign last year in her contentious face-off against progressive Nina Turner - and another $2,900 to her re-election in May. He has also donated to pro-Israel Democrats David Cicilline; Juan Vargas; Ted Deutch; Jake Auchincloss; and Ritchie Torres.

Rise of Aipac's United Democracy Project

The new donation, given on 15 July, according to the filings, would give the UDP a funding boost after it spent nearly all of the money it has raised so far.

The rise of Aipac's new Super Pac has reshaped this year's elections, particularly within the Democratic primaries. So far, the UDP has spent more than $28m across a number of races, and seven out of nine of their preferred candidates have come out on top.

The UDP has helped Texan Democrat Henry Cuellar fend off a primary challenger in Jessica Cisneros, and also played a role in the defeat of Jewish Congressman Andy Levin in Michigan to fellow incumbent Haley Stevens.

In January, former Aipac president David Victor sent an email to a potential Stevens donor saying that this election was the "race of the cycle" and that Levin was "arguably the most corrosive member of Congress to the US-Israel relationship".

Looking ahead, a number of additional primaries are currently under the spotlight amid the group's spending campaign, including in New York where, on Tuesday, Dan Goldman, the former House Democratic counsel, will face off against two progressive challengers: New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera and New York Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou.

Niou has drawn the ire of pro-Israel groups given her unclear stance on the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. In July, she said she supported BDS but then walked back her comments following backlash from other Democrats, including former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"I do not support calls to oppose the BDS movement; at the same time, I do not agree with all of its demands nor do I embrace all of its tactics," Niou wrote in a candidate questionnaire solicited by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. "No movement is perfect, just like no person is perfect."

The UDP has yet to find its way into any of the primary races in New York, and unless it commits to a last-minute spending spree, the group's primary season is effectively at an end.

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